'An agency in disrepair,' the South Bend Housing Authority left behind by Tonya Robinson

NOW: ’An agency in disrepair,’ the South Bend Housing Authority left behind by Tonya Robinson

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Tonya Robinson, the former executive director of the Housing Authority of South Bend, will spend nine years in prison for her role in embezzling millions from the agency.

Before learning her fate, Robinson delivered an emotional apology, taking responsibility for her actions. It was something the judge appreciated, but ultimately, he ruled that the fraud conspiracy couldn't have happened without her.

Marsha Parham-Green, the new executive director as of January, gave a scathing victim impact statement on behalf of the housing authority.

"Currently, the housing authority is left with over 300 units that are vacant because we can't afford to rehab those units," she said.

That's 300 of 800 total units maintained by the housing authority.

"I was left with a very dysfunctional-- an agency in disrepair," she said. "We are still, like I said in my statement, five years later, we're trying to continue to put band-aids on it."

Robinson was sentenced to 108 months in prison plus more than three million dollars in restitution for her role in a conspiracy to embezzle millions from the affordable housing organization.

Through a series of shoddy paperwork, a tragedy of typos, and overall fraudulent checks, Robinson worked with several others to create fake invoices for contracted work done to many of the housing authority's properties.

Checks were cut, but the work never happened.

Robinson's leadership lasted from 2014 until 2019. The FBI raided the housing authority in July of 2019, finally bringing their case to trial last year.

Robinson was found guilty.

The housing authority, five years later, left to rebuild a shattered reputation.

"We're now working to try to rebuild, which now is going to be upwards of $70 million we are going to need to make that happen," Parham-Green said.

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